What rituals keep you grounded? #productivewriter

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When I  am away at a conference, I always think I’ll accomplish more than I do at home.  Somehow the idea of being freed of everyday responsibilities – preparing meals, feeding the cats, doing the dishes and grocery shopping – leads me to believe I’ll be able to spend every minute in creative expression.

Yet being away from my own familiar environment presents its own challenges.  I miss the sense of sitting down at my own familiar desk, pulling out my keyboard or my favorite pen and yellow pad, and starting to write.

This past week I did accomplish much, although it ended up being largely about immersing myself in new learning (nonfiction writing).  We wrote several new pieces as part of our daily in-class and homework writing.  But those stories I brought from home to revise – untouched.  The stack of books I took to jumpstart my reading – unopened, for the most part.

Today I came across an article that reminded me of the power of ritual to keep you grounded.  It’s a feature in Real Simple magazine (don’t laugh!) called “How They Do It” (byline:  Jane Porter), in which five “experts” give their opinion on a particular question; this month’s question is:  What daily or weekly ritual keeps you grounded?

While the 5 experts (CEOs, business founders and executives) describe rituals that don’t look like mine e.g., (a weekly run with co-workers, Saturday morning journaling, a weekly dance class, etc.), when I saw this question I immediately thought about my own rituals, and about you, fellow bloggers and writers, and our #productivewriter experiment.  I can’t wait to ask you:

What rituals keep you grounded?

Like many of you, I’m sure, I am a creature of habit.  Now that I am back home, I’m excited to get back to my rituals.  They help ease me into writing and provide a solid foundation for my creative expression.  These are some of mine:

  1. Brewing a hot cup of (looseleaf) tea twice a day (midmorning and midafternoon), especially Earl Grey and Darjeeling.
  2. Doing my “sketch-a-day” practice.
  3. Freewriting from a line of poetry, courtesy “Poem of the Day” from the Poetry Foundation.
  4. Taking a walk in the afternoon with my son.
  5. Every 1st and 15th of the month:  sending out submissions for material I’m marketing.
  6. Responding to comments posted to my blog, and reading/commenting on blogs I follow.
  7. (About once a week) Write a new installment of one of my serialized fiction blog stories.
  8. Read and review a book a week.
  9. (On occasion, especially when I’m stuck) Write a journaled dialog between my “organizing” self and my “creative writer” self.  More about this in a future post.
  10. (Sunday nights) Write a new blog post about productive writing.

Do these rituals remind you of any of your rituals?  Do you do something completely different?  How do your rituals help you to accomplish your own creative expression?  I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

17 thoughts on “What rituals keep you grounded? #productivewriter

  1. Good to hear you managed to do some writing while you’re away. Sometimes a different environment can stimulate the writing process Like you, I’m a person of ritual. Admittedly I write best when I am in a familiar environment – namely in my apartment, in my bedroom at my desk. It is a bit hard to describe – but familiar surrounds gives me the impression of security, that the world around me is okay and so I can write knowing that everything else around me is standing tall and okay.

    I always make sure I have some snacks or munchies around, like some chocolate or chips. Also music is a must – anything from pop to rock or even the slower kind of music depending on my mood. But there will be times when I will write in silence, but those times are quite rare.

    Also like you, My blog is also part of my ritual. It’s something I check daily and reading other blogs like yours is often a source of inspiration for me and motivates me to keep writing. Writing is so, so much a lonely process and sometimes when you get in the ritual of it, it can be easy to wonder what’s the point – often progress is slow. I think that is always time to break away from the ritual. I felt like that when I finished drafting my first book…so I put more attention into developing my blog. Maybe one day I will go back to finish my book 🙂

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    1. Mabel, it is so reassuring to read about your ritual. I can picture you at your desk with the music going and snacks at hand, working on your own to make your creative expression. Thank you for describing that!

      “Writing is so, so much a lonely process” – Well said! i struggle with this continually. While I am definitely thrilled at when a new story or a character or a fun flash fiction comes out during my writing period, I sometimes dread the sitting-down-and-writing process. I’m not a huge extravert, but I enjoy interaction with others as well as having time to myself. The introvert part of me needs time to recharge after periods of “people-time,” though, so I must be half-half? (Introvert-extravert)

      Ah. Going back to your book. I know that feeling – regarding the stack of revision-stories I’d like to tackle this week. It’s great you’re giving yourself time and distance from it – because when you do go back, you’ll probably see where it’s strongest and where you might want to make it stronger. At least, that is how I find my writing is … ! ❤

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  2. Loved the post! I’m so glad you got to explore another type of writing – even though you didn’t do what you planned to do (isn’t that always the way of conferences). I’ve learned to adapt my rituals to the place and space I write in – I have a desk at home, but I’m usually a portable writer working between cafes, libraries, and other places…and that requires ingenuity. My constants are lip gloss, lotion, earbuds, and music. 🙂 And of course, a yummy coffee.

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    1. Yes, I just finished reading a book yesterday about the benefit of making your creative process more “messy,” adding unexpected elements to stimulate creativity. So your moving from place to place no doubt feeds your creativity, Darlene!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You and I have #1 and #6 in common. Also, I keep a calendar that functions as my daily to-do list. I really use that as a tool to keep me on track, it helps me balance both my creative side and the practical things that I need to do to keep the household moving. I also have what I consider to be my spiritual rituals that I think help in all aspects of my life. They are both daily and weekly.

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  4. I find that when I have “free” chunks of time that I can catch up on or do whatever creative project I want, I end up being completely unfocused and become very unproductive. I think that you’re on to something here connecting that with rituals. I like to think that I go off the cuff with a lot of things but when I think about it – I really don’t for the most part. I need the rituals to let my creative mind thrive. I think that it’s not just about surrounding yourself with the familiar things, although that is a big part of rituals. It’s also about organizing your mundane tasks. This allows the left side of the brain to go on autopilot with the day to day necessities in life so the right side can be foot loose and fancy free!!
    I have an Australian Cattle dog that has really exposed my need for rituals. She knows what hubby and I should be doing at certain times. If we vary too much from the schedule she lets us know!! It’s funny and fascinating. She is especially in tune with parts or our daily rituals that coincide with her own needs – when it’s her feeding time and bed time. We have a good laugh about how she has her own set of rituals too! An example that we really love is right before we go to bed my husband will get a drink of water. Laylee will get very fidgety and stand by her water bowl until he comes in the kitchen – then they both get a drink of water before going to bed!! It’s hilarious and it has to happen every night or she will not come downstairs to bed!!
    I’m going to be thinking about my own rituals now and see how many I follow that I’m not even aware of. 😀

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  5. I’m awful. I have no ritual. I have no routine, except for work and my fortnightly therapy. Haha. I do according to my mood and what I feel like. Luckily, I love to write. And, reading other blogs is something I make sure I get to do provided not on hibernation. 😂 I get home from work and I chill with my little princess. Then, hopefully I do some productive things. 😃
    You are awesome. So disciplined and responsible. 😘🤗

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